Now, usually when I travel internationally I focus on public policy, and community challenges whether it be development, economics, planning, training, housing, and poverty. This time I am flowing extemporaneously – good word eh? 🙂 Well, thing out Singapore that is immediately obvious is that it is probably one of the most modern and up-to-date cities in the world. If you read my earlier posts then you are familiar with a lot of other places I have worked. Well, Singapore is what Panama would look like it if addressed all of its problems – expansion of the Panama Canal, encroachment on the watershed, rising immigration due to problems in neighboring countries, informal settlements, lack of a civil service system, major transportation issues, developing area reverted from the U.S., and managing development. Well, when Singapore needed to expand its financial district it bought sand from Indonesia and Malaysia and expanded land base; when it needed fresh water, it closed of the ocean entrance into its historic harbor and built a dam to create a fresh water basin; it also used its multi-ethnic ties to build economic relationships throughout the region; it developed a trifecta transportation system, metro train, transit, and road systems to manage traffic…more on these things later…with Singapore being what some would call the “City of Light”…this ideal modernized state…well, I decided to go a different route in absorbing the culture….

Well, one of my first introductions to Singapore culture, outside of history, policy and economics was through the show “No Reservations” – Anthony Bourdain. To see some of what I am seeing, you have to check him out…he has to have one of the best jobs in the world!!

Aside from the food, how do you go to Asia without trying to calm your mind.  And, trust me, I am of those who needs a mind calming experience…So my first stop is the Singapore Botanical Garden.  In the middle of this oasis of modernization, sits an area similar to Central Park in New York with the exception…this is a Botanical Garden:


After walking through so much urbanization, it was a welcome compliment to walk into the Botanical Garden. It was like walking through an organized rain forest, a rain forest with order. It really touches all the senses…to see so much greenery and the animals blending in that it facilitates an awareness that allows you to smell life, to feel something unseen that is sustaining it all, to sit silently and hear things that our pre-occupied minds would normally filter out…and if you quiet yourself long enough, you can even taste something that if you added it to your life, you can find a way towards more inner peace. While the built environment is amazing, this is such an excellent contrast that modernized building and developed neighborhoods do not serve as the complete puzzle.


The Botanical Garden provides amazing walks, views, and a sense of peace that really represents the peak to which Singapore has arrived.  And, it stretches for miles…if you come to Singapore it is definitely worth the time!!


Wonderful trails and wildlife; coy ponds abound…






In this Garden, even the pigeons chill out…this little fellow…when I walked up on him…he looked up at me, gave me a “I’m so full” look, turned his head, and went right back to sleep…I’m feeling him…indeed, I could learn something from this pigeon…


Off to China Town….